Letters To The Editor: In Support Of Maggie Gough

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Editor’s note: The Manhasset Press received 12 letters in support of Library Director Maggie Gough from employees of the Manhasset Public Library in response to a Jan. 8 article, “Library Director Has Used Slurs Before, Staff Says.” The letters were sent from the library’s spokesperson Lisa Hendrickson.

 

I have worked at Manhasset Public Library for three years as a youth services librarian and as the art coordinator for the library. I have worked closely with our director, Maggie Gough, on many occasions and have never heard her use any racial slurs of any kind.
On the contrary, she is a very caring person, who is very concerned with the community and ensuring that the library is as diverse as possible. In my role as the art coordinator, I install all of the art exhibitions and have Maggie’s support in all of them. We have had the bi-yearly exhibition organized by the Chinese American Association of North Hempstead (CAANH) in collaboration with local schools here in the library and will continue to do so in the future. We just had the Manhasset Calligraphy group exhibit on the third floor, and right now, we have children’s chinese Calligraphy there, which was created in a program presented by the library by local children. This children’s Chinese calligraphy class is about to start again and is very popular.

In celebration of Black History Month, we are having the work of David Wilson exhibited in the community room for two months beginning the end of January. He is a wonderful artist and a member of the Long Island Black Artist’s Association where I first met him, and he is really looking forward to helping us celebrate his heritage.

I am shocked by the accusations against Maggie and wish her nothing but the best. Manhasset Public Library is a wonderful place to work, and I am certain that will continue under Maggie’s direction.

—Mary Glynn, Youth services librarian and art coordinator, Manhasset Public Library

I have worked at the Manhasset Public Library for just more than four years and during those years, I have worked very closely with Maggie Gough. In my time working with Maggie directly or in staff meetings, I’ve never seen or heard her exhibit discriminatory or racial behaviors towards anyone. She is always looking for ways to help the community in any way possible. It truly saddens me that those comments are being said about her.

—Charisse Relyveld-Osnato

I have been a staff member of the Manhasset Public Library since 2013. In that time, I have never witnessed Maggie Gough to speak or write racist remarks to staff or patrons. I have participated in staff meetings, board meetings and public library events with Maggie and never has she spoken discriminatory of any gender, race or religion. Maggie maintains an “open door policy” for staff and patrons alike to come to her office any time, with any issue. No appointment needed and never turning anyone away. The despicable behavior of the MPL staff who have launched these accusations against Maggie, have made our dignified work of serving this library and the Manhasset community humiliating. They should be ashamed of themselves.

—Linda Palmieri

I am writing this letter to show my support for Maggie Gough, who is the director of the Manhasset Public Library.

At no time have I ever heard the director use a racial slur or in any way demean any ethnic group of people.

On the contrary, she has encouraged inconclusiveness.

Under her guidance, a fine collection of Chinese books for children are on our shelves.
We have had Chinese calligraphy classes, displays of Chinese Art and right now, children’s Chinese calligraphy graces the hall of the third floor.

Our director, Maggie Gough, has put the emphasis on making our library a space where the whole community can meet in a friendly atmosphere.

To Maggie, it is all about the patrons.

—Alice Carol Pastor, Sr. Library Clerk, The Children’s Room

This statement is in response to the recent Manhasset Press article concerning Maggie Gough, Manhasset Library’s director. I am an employee of the Manhasset Public Library’s and have been for many years. I have never known Maggie to have made racial slurs or derogatory statements against any ethnic group. I have found her to be very inclusive in her manner and effort as library director. She has promoted many programs, events and collections to reflect our diverse community. She always has been available and supportive to me as a staff member. I also would like to note that the Manhasset Press did not reach out to me or any member of my department for our comments before this article was written.

—Linda Giacalone

I have worked at the Manhasset Public Library for almost five years now and have attended employee meetings and I never heard Maggie use any derogatory statements regarding anyone, on the contrary Maggie is very open, respectful and kind to her employees and community alike. Her office is always open for everyone for assistance with any matter.
I feel very disheartened that anyone would make such an accusation against Maggie, she is always professional and respectful.

—Dawn Braccio

I have worked at the Manhasset Public Library for the past six years as Maggie Gough’s administrative assistant. Maggie and I have adjoining offices and the door is usually open between the two offices. I have never, ever heard Maggie use any racial slurs or insensitive remarks. On the contrary, I find her to be totally inclusive and she has worked very hard to bring in programs, books and other materials that support our diverse community.
Maggie is a very kind person and her door is always open to staff and patrons alike to discuss any problems or issues. It is very sad to me that false statements are being made about her due to personal reasons, not professional ones. I have no problem signing my name to this statement and can only wonder why the accusers could not do the same.

—Ellen Majorana

I have been employed at the Manhasset Public Library since 2015 and have never witnessed Maggie Gough using any racially derogatory language. To the contrary, her every decision has been to make the library a more inclusive place. Actions speak louder than words. I urge everyone to look at Maggie’s record in the community. It is stellar.
The fact that patrons from all over Long Island compliment the staff at the Manhasset Library for their help and friendliness is indicative—it starts at the top.

—Stephanie Catlett

I have been working as a librarian at the Manhasset Public Library since before Maggie Gough became the director. In all the years we’ve worked together I have never witnessed her saying or even implying anything that could possibly be considered racist.

—Mary Shannon Heuman, youth services librarian, Manhasset Public Library

I am writing this letter to characterize the person Maggie Gough is. I have known Gough since May 2011 when she awarded me the opportunity to work for her at the Elmont Public Library as well as working for her at the Manhasset Public Library.

For the nine years that I have worked under her leadership, I have never met such an articulate, hardworking, professional and truly dedicated director. I have been in her presence in a vast amount of staff meetings and as well as one on one meetings, and I can vouch for her character as a fair, caring and most respectful human being when dealing with her employees and the patrons of the library.

I am writing this letter not because I need to about the person and character of Gough, but to write and be a part of the many letters you receive about a truly wonderful individual.

I would like to go out to say her adversity in this trying time has not shown her to falter, and her dedication to her workers and to the Manhasset Public Library is still very inspirational.

—Michael A. Marino

I have been attending staff meetings for the past four years and have never witnessed our director making racist comments or enforcing policy in a discriminatory fashion. I do not believe the slanderous comments by some staff members are reflective of the majority and it makes my heart heavy to witness such animosity among coworkers.

I am hopeful that the conclusion of the investigation regarding the original accusation will allow us to move forward with our mission to serve this wonderfully diverse community.

—Maria Mignano

I have worked at the Manhasset Public Library as building maintainer since the beginning of 2008. When Maggie came on as director, we worked closely on many building projects to improve services and function of the facility. Maggie and I have regular meetings about projects that move the facility forward, and have a pretty honest and open working relationship her. At no time have I ever heard Maggie use any racial or derogatory terms in either a formal or informal setting. Any supervisory position is never easy, especially the position of being the director of a public facility, but I have to say with all honesty that Maggie is always working on moving the library forward to meet the needs of all patrons, not just a select few.

—Garry Serraino

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